Despite being new, the Fifth-Generation (5G) network is anticipated to have one billion subscriptions worldwide by the end of 2022 and five billion in revenue by 2028.
However, 4G will continue to be the main driver of new connections up until 2028, accounting for more than half of all mobile subscriptions at that time, according to Ericsson, which made this disclosure. This is true for Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and other SSA nations.
The Swedish telecom company Ericsson noted in its November Mobility Report, which was published yesterday, that while the SSA economy is expected to be one of the fastest-growing regions in the world, legacy networks remain predominate.
The survey states that although 2G connections currently make up almost half of all subscriptions, these are expected to decrease as service providers move customers to 4G and 5G.
This information is being released as Nigeria is ready to sell off two additional lots of 100MHz in the 3.5GHz spectrum band for two additional operators. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) specifically announced that Lot C (3600-3700MHz) and Lots A (3400-3500MHz) are now accessible for new bidders. On December 19, an auction will be held, and it will happen in Abuja.
Already, MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications emerged as the winners of the earlier December 2021 auction. All eyes are on Mafab to not misuse its five-month extension, which expires in January, for its much anticipated 5G debut while MTN has already launched 5G services in select areas of Lagos and plans to expand to Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano, Owerri, and Maiduguri in the next phase. In August, the NCC gave Mafab a five-month extension.
Meanwhile, despite its economic difficulties, the SSA is predicted to have one of the fastest expanding economies internationally, supporting expansion in the telecom sector, according to Ericsson.
Accordingly, it claimed that as the COVID-19 epidemic lost some of its importance, network investments shifted from ensuring dependable connectivity for social and economic survival to boosting coverage and capacity, particularly for mobile broadband connections.
According to Ericsson, 2G connections still make up around half of all subscriptions in the region, but this number is expected to go down as more customers switch from outdated networks to 4G and 5G ones. Up to 2028, 4G will account for more than half of all mobile subscriptions, making it the key driver of new connections.
The survey also predicted that by the end of 2028, there will be about 270 million 5G subscribers in the region, or 31% of all mobile subscriptions, as a result of the availability of a wide range of 5G devices at appealing pricing points.
It was noted that as mobile connectivity increases, mobile financial services continue to gain momentum, with service providers expanding their offerings from straightforward transfers and merchant payments to remittances, insurance, and other more complex services.
According to Ericsson, the COVID-19 epidemic has caused a significant shift to digital payments in several markets, which has been a further catalyst for development.
The more developed markets in SSA, such South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya, have already started the 5G journey, according to the Swedish company, which also predicted that by the end of 2028, 5G subscriptions would account for about 14% of total mobile subscriptions.
According to it, service providers in the Middle East and North Africa are investing in 4G, and by 2028, more than 60% of subscribers in the region will be 4G. Similar to SSA, service providers are transferring their customers from older networks, and 4G and 5G expansion will proceed at a rapid rate. As service providers investigate various service offerings requiring high bandwidth and low latency, 5G is expected to be the fastest-growing market.
According to the paper, the next-generation network is expected to create new prospects for autonomous vehicles, enterprises, healthcare, and smart cities.
“In the manufacturing industry, 5G offers manufacturers the chance to build smart operations and take advantage of technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence, augmented reality for troubleshooting, and the Internet of Things.”
“From a global perspective, the report indicates service providers continue to deploy 5G, with 228 having already launched commercial 5G services globally. In addition, the deployment of 5G standalone networks also continues, with around 35 service providers having deployed or launched 5G standalone in public networks.”
“The most common 5G services launched by service providers for consumers are enhanced mobile broadband, fixed wireless access (FWA), gaming and some AR/VR-based services.”
“5G subscriptions grew by 110 million during the third quarter to around 870 million, and that number is expected to reach one billion by the end of 2022,” Ericsson noted.